The retail industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by myriad factors including regulatory reforms and the growing importance of technologies such as crypto wallets, anonymous transaction handling, and digital rights management (DRM) tools. In the last three years alone, there have been over 133,000 patents filed and granted in the retail industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Cloud: Crypto wallets.

However, not all innovations are equal and nor do they follow a constant upward trend. Instead, their evolution takes the form of an S-shaped curve that reflects their typical lifecycle from early emergence to accelerating adoption, before finally stabilising and reaching maturity.

Identifying where a particular innovation is on this journey, especially those that are in the emerging and accelerating stages, is essential for understanding their current level of adoption and the likely future trajectory and impact they will have.

70+ innovations will shape the retail industry

According to GlobalData’s Technology Foresights, which plots the S-curve for the retail industry using innovation intensity models built on over 128,000 patents, there are 70+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.

Biometric authentication, gesture-based user interfaces, and shipping management systems are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are user biometric authentication and instant messaging social network, which are now well established in the industry.

Innovation S-curve for cloud in the retail industry

Crypto wallets is a key innovation area in cloud

A crypto wallet refers a programme, device, physical medium, or service that stores the public and/or private keys for transactions in cryptocurrency. Additionally, a crypto wallet also offers the functionality of encrypting and/or signing information. Unlike a traditional wallet that holds cash, crypto wallets don’t store cryptocurrency. A customer’s digital assets live on the blockchain and can only be accessed with a private key.

GlobalData’s analysis also uncovers the companies at the forefront of each innovation area and assesses the potential reach and impact of their patenting activity across different applications and geographies. According to GlobalData, there are 100+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established retail companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of crypto wallets.

Key players in crypto wallets – a disruptive innovation in the retail industry

‘Application diversity’ measures the number of different applications identified for each relevant patent and broadly splits companies into either ‘niche’ or ‘diversified’ innovators.

‘Geographic reach’ refers to the number of different countries each relevant patent is registered in and reflects the breadth of geographic application intended, ranging from ‘global’ to ‘local’.

Patent volumes related to crypto wallets

Company Total patents (2010 - 2021) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
SoftBank Group 1873 Unlock company profile
nChain Holdings 508 Unlock company profile
Headwater Research 189 Unlock company profile
Headwater Partners I 180 Unlock company profile
Visa 144 Unlock company profile
Capital One Financial 123 Unlock company profile
Cox Enterprises 121 Unlock company profile
Broadcom 82 Unlock company profile
AT&T 60 Unlock company profile
adidas 56 Unlock company profile
Toronto-Dominion Bank 47 Unlock company profile
Ant Group 41 Unlock company profile 41 Unlock company profile
International Business Machines 40 Unlock company profile
Pendrell 40 Unlock company profile
Sony Group 35 Unlock company profile
Microsoft 33 Unlock company profile
PayPal Holdings 31 Unlock company profile
Walmart 31 Unlock company profile
Digital Asset Holdings 31 Unlock company profile
Technikka Conexion 31 Unlock company profile
Coinplug 30 Unlock company profile 27 Unlock company profile
Civic Technologies 25 Unlock company profile
Anchor Labs 24 Unlock company profile
Security First 23 Unlock company profile
Genesys Telecommunications Laboratories 23 Unlock company profile
Intertrust Technologies 22 Unlock company profile
Authentify 22 Unlock company profile
Eluvio 20 Unlock company profile
Thales 20 Unlock company profile
JPMorgan Chase 18 Unlock company profile
Payfone 18 Unlock company profile
IDEMIA France 17 Unlock company profile
VeriFone 16 Unlock company profile
FMR 15 Unlock company profile
Early Warning Services 15 Unlock company profile
Samsung Group 14 Unlock company profile
Inveniam Capital Partners 14 Unlock company profile
Intel 14 Unlock company profile
Dover 14 Unlock company profile
Fiserv 13 Unlock company profile
Swirlds 13 Unlock company profile
Rokfin 12 Unlock company profile
NEC 12 Unlock company profile
Omlis 12 Unlock company profile
Theta Labs 11 Unlock company profile
Algorand 11 Unlock company profile
Rivetz 11 Unlock company profile
Accenture 10 Unlock company profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Leading patent filers in the crypto wallet space are SoftBank Group, nChain Holdings, Headwater Research, Headwater Partners, Visa, and Capital One Financial. Visa has used blockchain technology to create an international digital identity system called Visa B2B Connect. This system tokenises business data such as account details and bank details and gives them a cryptographic key identifier.

In terms of application diversity, Technikka Conexion, adidas, Cox Enterprises, and AT&T are the leading players.

In terms of geographic reach, Headwater Partners, Authentify, Early Warning Services, and Intertrust Technologies are the top players.

Customers are likely to increasingly turn to crypto wallets for transactions as crypto wallets provide various advantages such as simplicity and ease of use, transaction and account confidentiality, convenient portfolio management, and access to different currencies.

To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the retail industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Cloud Computing in Retail.


GlobalData, the leading provider of industry intelligence, provided the underlying data, research, and analysis used to produce this article.

GlobalData’s Patent Analytics tracks patent filings and grants from official offices around the world. Textual analysis and official patent classifications are used to group patents into key thematic areas and link them to specific companies across the world’s largest industries.